Man dead after dual wheel falls off tractor-trailer on Ottawa highway

A man is dead after a dual wheel fell off a tractor-trailer on Highway 417 near Carling Avenue early Friday morning, then struck a van with enough force that the roof was torn off.

All the highway’s eastbound lanes are closed. Motorists are forced to leave the highway at Maitland Avenue and can get back on at Kirkwood Avenue.

The crash happened just before 6 a.m. A tractor-trailer was heading west when the dual wheel fell off it, striking a white cargo van heading in the opposite direction and tearing off the roof, according to OPP Const. Guy Prevost.

Two other vehicles that swerved to avoid the van were involved in a minor crash.

The man driving the van was pronounced dead at the scene, Ottawa paramedics said. The driver of one of the other vehicles suffered a minor injury and did not need to be taken to hospital.

The tractor-trailer came to a stop on the westbound shoulder.

OPP are investigating.

Ottawa crash Highway 417 fatal dual wheel collision Feb 10 2017

The dual wheel that fell off the transport-truck is seen lying against the eastbound shoulder of the highway. (CBC)

Fatal crash Highway 417 tractor-trailer parked Feb 10 2017

The tractor-trailer came to a stop on the westbound shoulder. (CBC)

Highway 417 fatal crash traffic backed up Carling Feb 10 2017

Motorists are being diverted off the highway’s eastbound lanes at Maitland Avenue and are allowed to get back on at Kirkwood Avenue. (CBC)

‘Absolutely deplorable’: binge drinking, injuries on organized student trips

It is supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for teens — and the Toronto-based youth travel company running the excursions promises they will be safe and supervised.

To parents, S-Trip’s spring break and grad trips offer the chance for their teens to have fun, explore local culture and volunteer in countries like Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

And they often pay a steep markup, sometimes double the holiday’s actual cost.

But a CBC Marketplace investigation reveals the reality is very different, with underage binge drinking and hard partying. And often the staff — sometimes only a few years older than the students themselves — don’t do much to stop the party.

“Hey, we want some pussy. Hey, we want some pussy,” S-Trip staff members chant with students, arms linked, on the beach.

Another staff member leads a game where students pass a ball from person to person, without using their hands. “This may be a first for some of you, but you’re going to have balls on your tits,” the staffer says.

CBC Marketplace: S-Trip vs. YouTube0:43

Much of the behaviour is documented on social media in dozens of videos uploaded by the students themselves. Clips show students chugging liquor, drunkenly climbing trees and wrestling on balconies. Some are grabbing girls or drawing on their breasts.

“It’s absolutely deplorable what they allow on these trips,” says one former S-Trip leader, who quit because the behaviour made him so uncomfortable.

The staff member spoke with Marketplace on condition of anonymity, saying the contract he signed with S-Trip prohibits him from speaking publicly about the trips.

In response to the Marketplace investigation, the company says it is reviewing its policies, doubling the amount of training required by staff and doubling the number of staff for its summer 2017 trips.

Rules disregarded

Student Trip was founded in 1976 by two high school teachers. In 2001, the company changed its name to S-Trip and began expanding, opening offices in the Dominican Republic and Boston.

For three years’ running starting in 2011, S-Trip was named one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada by Canadian Business magazine, selling thousands of vacations to teens each year.

S-Trip drinking

While S-Trip’s marketing materials emphasize safety, supervision and the opportunities to volunteer and experience a different culture, multiple YouTube videos depict binge drinking and hard partying. (YouTube)

S-Trip markets the trips as more than just a vacation — it’s all about the overall experience and the trips come at a premium price as a result.

Marketplace checked how much you’d pay if you independently booked the same resort for the same dates. The S-Trip price was often double.

A trip to one Cuban resort last July, for example, would have cost less than $1,000 per person if booked through a popular travel website. Going with S-Trip, however, was $1,955 per student.

S-Trip says students vacationing with the company are governed by a strict code of conduct that must be signed by all young travellers and their parents. A video on the company website shows S-Trip’s CEO saying that if students break the rules, they will be sent home.

Code-of-conduct questions

But Marketplace visited one of the resorts during an S-Trip holiday and found the code of conduct was often disregarded. For example, quiet hours are supposed to begin at 10 p.m., but Marketplace producers found that is also when the official S-Trip party began.

“The guys here are dicks,” one student told Marketplace. “They all try to get you drunk and then they just take advantage of you.”

While alcohol is permitted for students 18 and older — the legal drinking age in Cuba — Marketplace found students of all ages were often drunk. And other rules, such as those requiring students to be sober while swimming in the pool or ocean, were not enforced.

S-Trip website

S-Trip said that the behaviour documented by Marketplace would be ‘grounds to dismiss staff and send home travellers.’ (Marketplace)

These vacations are, first and foremost, party trips, the former S-Trip trip leader says.

“It’s shocking that more students aren’t harmed or at least come forward about some of the things that they do or see while on these trips,” he says, calling the S-Trip code of conduct “a farce.”

“It’s a lie to make money. Bottom line.”

During the trip he worked on, the former leader said staff members were told not to intervene in some cases of underage drinking. He said he also saw staff make inappropriate comments about young girls and encourage them to engage in sexually charged behaviour.

While S-Trip’s marketing material states the company carefully screens “travel veterans that have backgrounds like teaching, coaching, student leadership, event planning and our own past travellers,” the former trip leader says he and other staffers were formally considered volunteers and paid only a modest honorarium.

First-time trip leaders are paid $150 for the week, although their flights and accommodations are covered, according to a staff manual acquired by Marketplace.

Teen travel ‘uniquely challenging’: S-Trip

S-Trip declined an on-camera interview with Marketplace but said in emailed statements that “the conduct identified by CBC Marketplace is of extreme concern to us.”

The behaviour documented by Marketplace, the company says, would be “grounds to dismiss staff and send home travellers.”

S-Trip pool

While alcohol is permitted for students 18 and older, Marketplace found students of all ages were often drunk. And other rules, such as those requiring students to be sober while swimming in the pool or the ocean, were not enforced. (YouTube)

S-Trip also said it has launched a review of its policies, is doubling the training hours required by staff and is doubling the number of staff per trip for summer 2017.

“The overwhelming majority of our travellers comply with the code of conduct and have a fun and safe experience. Similarly, our staff are conscientious, highly trained, subjected to careful reviews and, in nearly all instances, provide excellent support and service to travellers,” the statement says.

“Nevertheless, designing and supervising trips for travellers in this age group can be uniquely challenging. Misconduct and mistakes do occur. We try to be honest and direct about that fact — with our staff, with travellers and with their parents.”

Two per cent of students get warnings, the company says, and one in 600 get sent home.

Injuries and lawsuits

Heavy drinking on S-Trip holidays has got students in trouble before.

In 2011, a 17-year-old student was drunk during a party when he fell two storeys from a hotel balcony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He hit the concrete and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

A lawsuit filed in 2013 alleges that while the student was too young to be legally permitted alcohol at the resort, there was little supervision and nothing to prevent him from freely obtaining alcohol.

S-Trip dark room

Some principals have sent letters to parents, warning that S-Trip vacations are not school sanctioned. (YouTube)

The case is ongoing, though S-Trip said in a statement to Marketplace that it has since introduced additional protocols concerning balcony safety. At the Cuban resort, Marketplace saw stickers on balcony doors advising students to exercise caution.

In another lawsuit, a 17-year-old student, also too young to be drinking based on S-Trip’s rules, fell into a large hole while drunk, slicing open her leg. That case is currently in mediation, S-Trip says.

‘Virtually no adult supervision’

Some high school principals have tried to raise a red flag for parents who might think S-Trip holidays are either associated with or endorsed by their schools.

“A number of serious issues are brought to my attention each and every year,” one principal’s letter to parents reads. “Students will not be supervised by my staff … in any way. I want to repeat that this is not a school trip. Students have virtually no adult supervision.

“Please exercise caution.”

Census shows Conservatives still hold sway in Canada’s fastest growing regions

With the West leading the country in population growth and Atlantic Canada stagnating, the Conservatives continue to have the most to gain from the demographic trends revealed in the latest census release from Statistics Canada.

And while the numbers are a mixed bag for the governing Liberals, the changing population figures in Canada’s 338 ridings point to potential difficulties for the NDP.

The electoral map won’t be redrawn until after the next census in 2021, so at least one more election will be decided using the current boundaries. But it’s better for a party’s future to be on the right side of the demographic trends.

According to the 2016 census, the first results of which were published Wednesday, Calgary and Edmonton were the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. They are also home to two of the three ridings that saw the most growth: Edmonton–Wetaskiwin had an increase in population of 43.5 per cent since 2011, while Calgary Shepard grew by 33.7 per cent.

New ridings will need to be added to Edmonton and Calgary to keep up with the growth. These new seats will likely be of benefit to the Conservatives, though both cities were more competitive in the 2015 election than they had been in decades.

Census provincial growth

A population boom in Brampton, Ont., and north of Toronto, on the other hand, is more helpful to the Liberals — they won seven of the eight area ridings with above-average growth and would be in a good position to pick up any ridings that are added.

New ridings east of Vancouver could also prove fertile ground for the Liberals.

Certainly, the political landscape could shift dramatically by the time these new ridings are created. But the change in population patterns could also have an impact even before the electoral boundaries are redrawn.

Take the example of Dufferin–Caledon, a riding northwest of Toronto that the Conservatives won by some 4,300 votes in 2015. It contains the municipality of Shelburne, which experienced a 39 per cent increase in its population — one of the biggest jumps anywhere in the country.

Elsewhere in the riding, however, the town of Orangeville grew by just three per cent, while the population dropped around Bolton. The Conservatives won Orangeville and Bolton comfortably, but the Liberals narrowly beat them in Shelburne. If population growth in Shelburne continues to outstrip that of Orangeville and Bolton, the Liberals could have a better chance of winning the riding in the future.

Conservatives in growing West

Of the 50 fastest growing ridings in the country, half of them are held by the Conservatives despite the party holding less than a third of the seats in the House of Commons. On average, ridings won by the Conservatives boasted a growth rate of 7.1 per cent since 2011, better than the national average of five per cent.

This is largely because the Conservatives hold all but five of the 34 seats in Alberta, the fastest growing province in the country.

The Conservatives also had above-average growth in their Ontario ridings (5.7 per cent against 4.6 per cent for the province as a whole) and represent three of the seven fastest growing ridings in the province: Milton, Markham–Unionville and Carleton.

CANADA-RAILWAYS/

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt represents Milton, Ont., which showed significant population growth in the census. The electoral importance of the suburbs remains a key focus for all federal parties. (Reuters)

The party also holds ridings in and around Quebec City, which grew at a quicker rate than the rest of Quebec.

Conservative ridings in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, however, had below-average growth. This was due to the party being pushed out of Winnipeg and losing seats in Saskatoon and Regina, the third and fourth fastest growing cities in the country.

Liberals in stagnant East

Liberal ridings had an average growth of four per cent, below the national average, mainly because the party swept the 32 seats in Atlantic Canada, a region that only had 0.2 per cent growth.

Ten of the 20 ridings with the biggest decrease in population were in Atlantic Canada, topped by Cape Breton–Canso’s drop of 4.4 per cent.

While the region is unlikely to lose seats in the future due to constitutional requirements that it have at least as many seats in the House as it has in the Senate, Atlantic Canada’s share of all seats nationwide will continue to decline.

CANADA-ELECTION/

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau greets supporters during a campaign rally in Surrey, B.C., on Oct. 18, 2015. The Liberals did well in the booming city in the last election. (Reuters)

The Liberals were also under-represented in the fastest growing ridings in Quebec and overrepresented in the province’s ridings seeing the biggest decrease in population, such as in Gaspésie.

This was in contrast to the Bloc Québécois, which had average growth of 5.1 per cent in its 10 ridings, with a boost from its seats north of Montreal.

But the Liberals won ridings in the West where the population is booming. Growth in Liberal ridings in Saskatchewan and Manitoba averaged 6.4 per cent, above the region’s overall six per cent growth. In British Columbia, Liberal ridings grew by 6.7 per cent, compared to 5.6 per cent for the province as a whole.  Seat wins in cities like Winnipeg, Vancouver and Surrey helped boost the numbers.

NDP represents slow-growth regions

Seats held by the NDP had an average growth of just 3.6 per cent, well below the national average. This was largely due to the party’s holdings in northern Ontario, in the city centres of southwestern Ontario (Hamilton, Windsor and London) and in rural and northern British Columbia.

Skeena–Bulkley Valley, held by the NDP’s Nathan Cullen, was one of only two ridings in all of Western Canada to experience a decrease in population.

On the plus side for the party, the NDP also won seats in growing cities like Regina and Saskatoon and on Vancouver Island.

All about the suburbs

But if the New Democrats are to improve their electoral prospects, they’ll need to make inroads in more parts of the country that are growing. The Conservatives already have an intrinsic advantage due to their historic popularity in the growing West, a region that will increasingly carry more weight in the House of Commons.

The Liberals — with seats in the declining regions of Atlantic Canada but also in the growing parts of Ontario and the West — need to ensure they don’t lose the suburban gains they made in the last election.

The trend lines of the 2016 census continued those of 2011. The political calculus that has emphasized the electoral importance of the suburbs has also held constant. 

Interactive map with population increase or decrease by riding

‘Hunting is not about killing for me’: Trophy hunter sees shooting big game as form of conservation

A British Columbia woman well-known for her trophy hunts of lions, bears and giraffes says she sees the killing as an ethical form of wildlife conservation.

Jacine Jadresko of Victoria has found herself a target of online hatred for her trophy hunting around the world.

Jadresko, who appears in the fifth estate’s “The Hunter and The Hunted,” said that after being on a show like the fifth estate, “I’ll get up to 200 or more death threats a day.”

“Things so vile as people telling me they’re going to kidnap my son and I and they’re gonna skin him alive and hang him from a tree.” 

Trophy hunting — or hunting big game for recreation and not for food — has existed for centuries.

While it has been the focus of much criticism from animals rights groups in recent years, it also has support from some conservation and nature groups such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Jadresko said she is an ethical hunter and sees hunting as a form of wildlife conservation.

Jacine Jadresko poses with a lion

Jadresko calls herself the “Inked Huntress” on Instagram and is very active in posting photos of herself and her hunting ‘harvests.’ (CBC)

“Hunting is not about killing for me,” she said. “I have a huge respect for each species that I hunt and each animal that I hunt and they’re each very special to me. “

Jadresko has been trophy hunting for the last three years. In 2014, she paid thousands of dollars to a South African outfitter to hunt a lion that she has since had stuffed.

“In about a year and a half I hunted in nine countries and I successfully hunted 29 species,” she said. “It’s very primal and natural.”

She’s become a sort of poster girl for female hunters — Jadresko is a sponsored “Global Girl” for camouflage apparel company Realtree.

Her Instagram account, where she goes by the name the “Inked Huntress,” is full of photos of herself posing with dead animals — what she calls her “harvests.” Some pictures show her hands and face covered in blood.

“When I’ve successfully harvested an animal, I want to remember that and … you take a picture because it’s a respect to the animal, to remember that animal and remember the whole hunt and the whole day and everything.”

She’s become an online target for anti-hunting activists and says that the hate she receives encourages her to hunt more.

ZIMBABWE-WILDLIFE/LION

Piper Hoppe, 10, takes part in a protest in Bloomington, Minn., on July 29, 2015, against the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. (Eric Miller / Reuters)

“The more you hate, the more I kill,” Jadresko wrote on her Instagram account. 

Hunting by women has virtually doubled in the past 10 years, according to Realtree, and marketers are anxious to prove that even bloodsport could use a touch of glamour.

Jadresko said she thinks part of the reason she gets so much online hate is because she’s a woman.

“I think if people saw a picture of a man and he had just finished cleaning out the animal, he had blood all over him, they’d be like, ‘Oh you know, whatever.’ But because I’m a woman and I have my hair in pigtail braids, they just feel this extra shock that it’s a woman doing these things.”

Limited cases

While Jadresko has attracted criticism for her actions, trophy hunting has support from some quarters that might be unexpected. 

The World Wildlife Fund, whose mandate is “to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature,” is in favour of trophy hunting in some situations.

“In certain limited and rigorously controlled cases, including for threatened species, scientific evidence has shown that trophy hunting can be an effective conservation tool as part of a broad mix of strategies,” the fund says.

On its website, it cites a community-based conservation strategy that included “tightly regulated” trophy hunting in the mid-1990s in Namibia.

‘The recovery of wildlife has been remarkable.’ – World Wildlife Fund

“The recovery of wildlife has been remarkable. Namibia now boasts the largest free-roaming population of black rhino, as well as expanding numbers of elephants, lions and giraffes and the world’s largest cheetah population. Local communities have also benefitted substantially from the program.”

Other arguments in support of trophy hunting suggest that the money hunters pay to kill these animals goes to local communities, especially in places such as Africa.

But the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says that while hunters pay roughly $200 million each year for big game hunts in Africa, only about three per cent of those funds go to local communities in the hunting area.

Conservation debate

The African lion population has fallen by more than 40 per cent in the past three generations and many elephant and tiger species are now considered endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund. 

In early 2016, in an interview with ITV News, Prince William said “there is a place for trophy hunting,” and “that the money that goes from shooting a very old infirm animal goes back into the protection of the other species.”

Cecil the lion

Cecil the lion was a popular tourist attracton in Hwange National Park in Hwange, Zimbabwe, before he was killed by a wealthy American trophy hunter. (Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit/AP)

Many animals rights and wildlife groups say that kind of thinking is flawed.

In a 2015 article, environmental activist David Suzuki said humans are “nature’s most dangerous and destructive super predator.”

Suzuki, host of CBC’s The Nature of Things, says that predation is a natural, necessary part of animal existence, but non-human predators target the weak, the young and the old. Humans engaged in trophy hunting are often targeting the largest males, Suzuki says.

A Science magazine report from 2015 titled “The unique ecology of human predators” says that humans kill large predators at nine times the rate at which carnivores typically kill each other.

The report says humans are becoming a kind of “super predator” and are killing animals at a frequency that will lead to unprecedented rates of extinction. 

Part of this, the study says, is because humans are killing mature animals that would not often come across any predators in the wild.

Cecil the lion

Much of the recent controversy over trophy hunting began with Cecil the lion in July 2015.

Cecil was a popular African tourist attraction that was lured from a protected national park in Zimbabwe and killed by Walter Palmer, a wealthy American trophy hunter. Cecil’s killing triggered outrage around the world.

Since then, the United States has banned the import of African lion trophies.

Canada does not ban the import of African lion trophies, but Environment and Climate Change Canada told the fifth estate that that Canada “diligently upholds” the terms of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which deals in part with the importation of trophy animals into the country.

The agency said that international trade — including trade in hunting trophies — is controlled by a strict permitting system that “obliges the exporting country to ensure that the harvest was legal and that the harvest and export are not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.”

To many, Palmer became public enemy No. 1 in the fight against trophy hunting. But for some like Jadresko, Palmer was the victim.

“It’s really unfortunate that he had to go through what he went through I think,” Jadresko told the fifth estate. “It’s unfortunate that the media portrayed him in the way that they did.”

Trudeau should spend his diplomatic capital on Syria

In his Holocaust memoir, Night, the late Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel hauntingly described the challenges of hanging the young and starving:

It’s roll call at the Monowitz concentration camp, and three prisoners are executed. Among them is a boy too light to die quickly when the chair beneath him is kicked over. He is still writhing when Wiesel and the other prisoners are marched past. One prisoner looks at the boy and asks, where is God? Wiesel replies that God is in front of them, hanging from the gallows.

Hangings at Saydnaya prison

The guards at Syria’s Saydnaya prison — a military prison near Damascus — lack the Nazis’ patience. According to an Amnesty International report released this week, as many as 13,000 prisoners, mostly civilian opponents of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, were killed at Saydnaya between 2011 and 2015. (Naturally, Syria has rejected the report.) Like the boy at Monowitz, some were too light to die easily by hanging. Guards would pull down on their feet to break their necks.

There are other prisons in Syria and thousands of other victims. For many, we have photographic evidence. If this is not a genocide, it is nevertheless slaughter on an industrial scale. It is the sort of mass atrocity that world leaders pledge every year — as they did only two weeks ago on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz — to prevent from ever happening ever again. And yet here we are, watching it happen again and doing nothing to stop it.

As of the time of writing, neither Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had issued a statement about the latest Saydnaya revelations. And why would they? The whole thing has become rather embarrassing.

For six years now, Assad has been hanging, gassing, torturing and barrel bombing Syrians to death. He’s been aided in this task by the governments of Iran and Russia, with which Trudeau has pledged to mend relations.

In October, then Foreign Minister Stephane Dion promised Canada would hold both Russia and Syria to account, vowing that, “The path of dangerous belligerence will not succeed.” This is what’s known in the parlance of our times as an “alternative fact.” Clearly, Assad’s belligerence — if that term can be applied to mass murder — is succeeding. It’s succeeding because the world, Canada included, is standing aside as Assad perpetuates an ongoing crime against humanity.

UN-ASSEMBLY/

Trudeau has never suffered from limited ambition about what Canada can accomplish under his leadership. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

To be sure, Canada’s ability to shape events in Syria is limited. But Trudeau has never suffered from limited ambition about what Canada can accomplish under his leadership. “Canada is back, my friends,” Trudeau said at the Paris climate conference in 2015. “We’re here to help.”

He sounded ridiculously self-important at the time. But now, with right-wing populism sweeping Europe, Britain engrossed in a bout of pathological Brexit masochism and a grubby zealot debasing the White House for the next four years, Canada — led by an unabashed champion of liberal pluralism — does appear exceptional. The headline on a recent New York Times column declared that Canada is leading the free world.

So, lead.

But recognize first where in the world leadership is most needed, where resources should be invested and political and diplomatic capital should be spent. It’s not peacekeeping in Africa. It’s not acceding to the Arms Trade Treaty. It’s not even climate change. It’s Syria.

Assad is not a partner

Assad’s murderous rule is an affront to every value for which Canada claims to stand. It’s the main source of a refugee crisis that has destabilized much of the globe and acted as a tailwind for nativist politics in several Western democracies. And it’s the cause of far too much death.

When Trudeau meets with President Donald Trump next week, a top priority should be persuading the American leader that Assad is not a viable partner in the fight against ISIS, as Trump appears to believe, but a war criminal who must be brought to justice.

As Trudeau seeks to re-engage with Iran, he should simultaneously loudly condemn the country for aiding and enabling Assad’s extermination of his own people.

And Canada should consider the advice of McGill international law professor Payam Akhavan, who for months has been urging Ottawa to bring a case against the Syrian government to the United Nations’ International Court of Justice for its failure to punish individuals responsible for crimes against humanity inside the country.  

When asked to explain inaction in the face of genocide and other mass atrocity crimes, among the most common excuses is: “We didn’t know.” It’s a shabby plea. We won’t be able to make it about Syria.

This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor’s blog and our FAQ.

‘Check your ego’: How to get a job in Alberta’s recession

For years, Calgary was a great place to go if you needed a job. It had the highest wages in the country — especially for oilpatch workers — and the buoyant job market helped draw more than 300,000 people to the city over the past 10 years.

That great job market was a blessing, but has a downside, in that career counsellors and headhunters are finding that job expectations remain too high, more than two years into a weak labour market.

‘Put your ego in check, that’s what I’m saying to everybody, we’ve all had to put our egos in check.’ – Sharlene Massie, About Staffing

“We actually had an IT [information technology] guy two weeks ago,” said Sharlene Massie the owner of About Staffing, describing a candidate for an open job. “It was a good job, $90,000 a year. He’s not working now, so he’s making nothing. He went to the first interview, he was supposed to go back for the second interview, and he said, the company was too small, he was going to wait for a bigger company to hire him.”

Massie has found this trend to be particularly frustrating. She said that everyone in the city, including her, has had to adjust their expectations.

“Put your ego in check, that’s what I’m saying to everybody. We’ve all had to put our egos in check.”

Shift in jobs being created in Alberta

The types of jobs available in Alberta are changing. There’s less work in oil and gas, obviously, but also fewer professional positions and technical and finance jobs. Meanwhile, more retail and food services jobs are available, and there’s lots of hiring in education, health and public administration.

Still, in December the unemployment rate remained above 10 per cent.

Massie has found that labourers are keen to take any work, but mid-level employees remain picky.

“The companies are not hiring back at the same price that they had these people before. They’re going in offering less.”

Loss of status can be painful

Career counsellors in Calgary have seen the same problem: People who are used to well-paying jobs are often advised to take a survival job, working retail, for example, but there is a real reluctance to do so.

“They don’t want to lose status or the perception of the loss of status, which is oftentimes associated with pay or job title,” said Avra Davidoff, a psychologist with Calgary Career Counselling. “So sometimes it’s helping an individual understand that you can gain status through other ways, it’s not always about the dollar sign.”

It is easy to judge, but the idea of success being connected to money or your job is ingrained in society, probably more so in cities where incomes are high and people work a lot of hours, as Calgarians did during the boom years.

“It’s the idea that we need to have a certain job title or pay in order to be successful, or well-regarded,” said Randall. “And it’s hard for people to detach themselves from that view.”

Does more money equal more happiness?

There are also practical considerations at play. It can be harder to job hunt or network when you are at work every day, even though it’s usually easier to find work when you already have a job. There’s also the possibility that mid-level workers want a career more than a job.

Some worry that a survival job might stall the advance of a career, and that it might be better to take some classes or do some volunteering, said David Dyck, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, who specializes in the philosophy of money.

Or the problem may be as simple as workers looking for more money.

Dyck said that research has shown that $75,000 US a year is the household income at which people no longer feel the emotional stress of not having enough money. However, as a society, we tend to rate our lives as happier the more money that we have.

“There’s a very tight correlation up to $160,000 a year between income and life satisfaction. At $110,000 a year, people rate their lives as not going as well as at $130,000 a year,” said Dyck.

Dyck said he found the reluctance to take survival job is rooted in optimism. Calgarians are expecting that the city will come back from this. 

But they may have some time to wait.

“I think the word is stable, said Massie. “There’s not a turnaround yet.”

Every highway linking Lower Mainland to rest of B.C. closed, cars stranded

A 24-hour period of freezing rain across the South Coast has culminated with every single B.C. highway leading into the Lower Mainland being closed. 

As of 12:30 a.m. PT, here’s the status of each major highway:

  • The Coquihalla (Highway 5) was closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt, after a short period in the late afternoon where it was reopened. Drive BC says the estimated time of opening southbound from Merritt is 6 a.m. on Friday. An update for cars heading northward from Hope will happen at 2:00 a.m.
  • Highway 3 is closed in both directions between Hope and Manning Park Lodge because of an Avalanche Hazard. An update won’t be given until 6 a.m. on Friday, and there is no estimated time of reopening.
  • Highway 1 is closed from Yale to the Highway 12 junction at Lytton because of a high avalanche hazard. There is no estimated time of it reopening. A further update is expected at 6 a.m. on Friday.
  • Highway 99 was open for much of the Thursday, but it too is now closed in both directions west of Lillooet because of an avalanche hazard. No update time has been provided.

Highway 5 is open between Merritt and Kamloops, but travel is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. 

Highway 3 is also closed at the Alberta border because of freezing rain, and there is no estimated time of opening. 

With cross-state routes in Washington State also closed, it means anyone attempting to reach the Interior of B.C. from the Lower Mainland, or vice-versa, will have to do so by plane.

‘It’s definitely frustrating’

It also has effectively stranded a number of people on the Coquihalla, who are expecting they’ll be stuck overnight.

 “The road is literally a sheet of ice. To get out of the car and walk is super treacherous,” said Jesse Whiller, who has been stuck on the Coquihalla, 25 kilometres south of Merritt, for hours.

“We can see at least 3 kilometres in the distance and it’s just a line of cars not moving. You can’t see brake lights any more, all the cars are off. I think people are planning on spending the night here.

“We have enough gas to get through the night, but there’s a lot of cars here and maybe not everyone is in that situation.” 

Heather Beaty, who is stuck 30km south of Merritt in a car with three friends, was making her monthly trip to Kamloops to play with the city orchestra. After a few hours of slow driving northbound, traffic eventually ground to a complete halt. 

“The road conditions are quite treacherous. I’ve never seen them this way. It’s literally a river over ice,” she said. 

She wondered why the highway was reopened at approximately 4 p.m., giving people the impression it was safe to drive, only to be closed again when it became obvious that wasn’t the case.

“You’d think we’d have a better protocol,” she said.

“We are quite frustrated they would open the highway and tell us we could go, and then close it within an hour after doing that, letting thousands of people in.” 

Highways linking Lower Mainland to rest of B.C. closed, cars stranded

A 24-hour period of freezing rain across the South Coast has culminated with every single B.C. highway leading into the Lower Mainland being closed. 

As of 12:30 a.m. PT, here’s the status of each major highway:

  • The Coquihalla (Highway 5) was closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt, after a short period in the late afternoon where it was reopened. Drive BC says the estimated time of opening southbound from Merritt is 6 a.m. on Friday. An update for cars heading northward from Hope will happen at 2:00 a.m.
  • Highway 3 is closed in both directions between Hope and Manning Park Lodge because of an Avalanche Hazard. An update won’t be given until 6 a.m. on Friday, and there is no estimated time of reopening.
  • Highway 1 is closed from Yale to the Highway 12 junction at Lytton because of a high avalanche hazard. There is no estimated time of it reopening. A further update is expected at 6 a.m. on Friday.
  • Highway 99 was open for much of the Thursday, but it too is now closed in both directions west of Lillooet because of an avalanche hazard. No update time has been provided.

Highway 5 is open between Merritt and Kamloops, but travel is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. 

Highway 3 is also closed at the Alberta border because of freezing rain, and there is no estimated time of opening. 

With cross-state routes in Washington State also closed, it means anyone attempting to reach the Interior of B.C. from the Lower Mainland, or vice-versa, will have to do so by plane.

‘It’s definitely frustrating’

It also has effectively stranded a number of people on the Coquihalla, who are expecting they’ll be stuck overnight.

 “The road is literally a sheet of ice. To get out of the car and walk is super treacherous,” said Jesse Whiller, who has been stuck on the Coquihalla, 25 kilometres south of Merritt, for hours.

“We can see at least 3 kilometres in the distance and it’s just a line of cars not moving. You can’t see brake lights any more, all the cars are off. I think people are planning on spending the night here.

“We have enough gas to get through the night, but there’s a lot of cars here and maybe not everyone is in that situation.” 

Heather Beaty, who is stuck 30km south of Merritt in a car with three friends, was making her monthly trip to Kamloops to play with the city orchestra. After a few hours of slow driving northbound, traffic eventually ground to a complete halt. 

“The road conditions are quite treacherous. I’ve never seen them this way. It’s literally a river over ice,” she said. 

She wondered why the highway was reopened at approximately 4 p.m., giving people the impression it was safe to drive, only to be closed again when it became obvious that wasn’t the case.

“You’d think we’d have a better protocol,” she said.

“We are quite frustrated they would open the highway and tell us we could go, and then close it within an hour after doing that, letting thousands of people in.” 

Every single highway linking the Lower Mainland to the rest of B.C. is closed

A 24-hour period of freezing rain across the South Coast has culminated with every single B.C. highway leading into the Lower Mainland being closed. 

As of 12:30 a.m. PT, here’s the status of each major highway:

  • The Coquihalla (Highway 5) was closed in both directions from Hope to Merritt, after a short period in the late afternoon where it was reopened. Drive BC says the estimated time of opening southbound from Merritt is 6 a.m. on Friday. An update for cars heading northward from Hope will happen at 2:00 a.m.
  • Highway 3 is closed in both directions between Hope and Manning Park Lodge because of an Avalanche Hazard. An update won’t be given until 6 a.m. on Friday, and there is no estimated time of reopening.
  • Highway 1 is closed from Yale to the Highway 12 junction at Lytton because of a high avalanche hazard. There is no estimated time of it reopening. A further update is expected at 6 a.m. on Friday.
  • Highway 99 was open for much of the Thursday, but it too is now closed in both directions west of Lillooet because of an avalanche hazard. No update time has been provided.

Highway 5 is open between Merritt and Kamloops, but travel is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. 

Highway 3 is also closed at the Alberta border because of freezing rain, and there is no estimated time of opening. 

With cross-state routes in Washington State also closed, it means anyone attempting to reach the Interior of B.C. from the Lower Mainland, or vice-versa, will have to do so by plane.

‘It’s definitely frustrating’

It also has effectively stranded a number of people on the Coquihalla, who are expecting they’ll be stuck overnight.

 “The road is literally a sheet of ice. To get out of the car and walk is super treacherous,” said Jesse Whiller, who has been stuck on the Coquihalla, 25 kilometres south of Merritt, for hours.

“We can see at least 3 kilometres in the distance and it’s just a line of cars not moving. You can’t see brake lights any more, all the cars are off. I think people are planning on spending the night here.

“We have enough gas to get through the night, but there’s a lot of cars here and maybe not everyone is in that situation.” 

Heather Beaty, who is stuck 30km south of Merritt in a car with three friends, was making her monthly trip to Kamloops to play with the city orchestra. After a few hours of slow driving northbound, traffic eventually ground to a complete halt. 

“The road conditions are quite treacherous. I’ve never seen them this way. It’s literally a river over ice,” she said. 

She wondered why the highway was reopened at approximately 4 p.m., giving people the impression it was safe to drive, only to be closed again when it became obvious that wasn’t the case.

“You’d think we’d have a better protocol,” she said.

“We are quite frustrated they would open the highway and tell us we could go, and then close it within an hour after doing that, letting thousands of people in.” 

Haiti-born, Heiltsuk-raised basketball player still barred from All Native event over ‘blood quantum’ rule

The All Native Basketball Tournament begins in Prince Rupert, B.C. on Feb. 12, and for the second year in a row a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation won’t be allowed to play because he doesn’t have Indigenous blood.

Josiah Wilson, 21, was adopted from Haiti when he was five months old and raised by a Heiltsuk family in western Canada.

He spent much of his youth in Heiltsuk territory in Bella Bella, and self-identifies as a member of the nation. 

He is also legally recognized as a status Indian under Canada’s Indian Act, and as Heiltsuk under the guidelines of the nation.

Josiah Wilson as baby

Josiah Wilson, held as an infant by his grandfather, Papa Don, was adopted at five months by a Heiltsuk doctor working in Haiti. (Facebook)

None of this is enough to convince tournament organizers that he should be allowed to compete with his teammates on the Heiltsuk Wolf Pack.

“As I understand it and according to their rules, the participants need to be born with at least 1/8th… North American Indigenous blood,” Wilson’s father, Dr. Don Wilson told CBC Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

This runs counter to Wilson’s own feelings of what constitutes Indigenous heritage, as well as those of the Heiltsuk Nation.

“Adoption is a very important part of our culture and it always has been,” he explained.

“From our perspective he’s the equivalent to being born with Indigenous ancestry because he’s been adopted into our nation and he has both legal and cultural standing as a status Indian.”

Josiah and don

Don Wilson says his son was discriminated against based on race, family status, colour and place of origin. (Trevor Jang)

Josiah played in the tournament as a member of the junior team, but prior to competing in the 2016 event he received a letter informing him he would not be allowed to take part.

The decision made national headlines and sparked a debate about so-called blood quantum rules that define Indigenous status based on blood over culture and upbringing.

Dr. Wilson said he’s received “dozens and dozens” of messages of support from fellow Heiltsuk, but for the second year in a row organizers aren’t letting his son play based on the bloodline rules.

Tournament organizers have declined to speak to CBC about the decision.

Human rights complaint

Dr. Wilson said attempts at mediation with the tournament received little response. 

Now, he’s launched a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal claiming his son is being discriminated against based on race, place of origin, colour and family status.

“This is a discrimination of Indigenous against Indigenous,” he said.

Josiah Wilson Hoops

Josiah Wilson is a point guard with the Heiltsuk First Nation basketball team, the Wolf Pack. (Liette Wilson)

“It’s a colonial definition that they’re using of indigeneity. The All Native Basketball Tournament from my perspective has completely discounted the sovereign right of the Heiltsuk Nation to determine who is a member of our nation and our community.”

Dr. Wilson said while these are important issues to address, his primary goal is for his son to be allowed to play.

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Don Wilson.

The All Native Basketball Tournament is an important part of modern Indigenous culture in northwest B.C. that draws thousands of fans from across the province and neighbouring Alaska.

Josiah Wilson continues to compete with the Wolf Pack in other events, and would like to take part in this one, says his father.

“He’s very disappointed that he can’t play again. He would really like to join his teammates,” Dr. Wilson said.

“He’s felt quite humiliated by the process: to be kicked out, to be told specifically that he’s not legitimately Heiltsuk.”

The tournament takes place Feb. 12-18. The human rights complaint is scheduled to be heard in March.


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